Quintin Tarantino. He is the shadow that all American independent film makers live in. I loved Pulp Fiction. I love his love of films, but I have to say that I love him more as a talking head than I do as a film maker, and it has been more and more this way for a long time. I don’t mean to disrespect him. I want to love him, but the 90’s version of him, the prefame scripts, it is long gone. True Romance, Natural Born Killers, PF, Reservioir Dogs, all original. Now he wants to put “his” spin on popularish genre movies. It is like after PF he has had huge performance anxiety. Everyone was doing Pulp Fiction knock offs. Some were really good. I don’t blame him that his next film was Jackie Brown, and way different than PF. It was a cool, unique one off. Then the long break. He did a lot of live theater and found himself. He did Kill Bill. I didn’t hate it. Either part, though I thought it could have been one film. I let him go on plot holes, cause it is a movie movie. Not what we were used to, but it was fun. Also, not the best revenge movie ever made. People Talk about it being the film version of the television show that Mia had been on from PF and it is interesting, but not great. Then we get Inglorious Bastards.
I loved the opening scene. One of the single best scenes ever in a movie. The scene in the basement is very similarly good. The rest of the film is crap. You can’t mix camp and real violence. It worked in his early work because these were not from the narrative, but character driven. Hitmen talking about sex before a kill. It seems real. Stranger than fiction. Having a 70’s style cartoon introduction kills credibility for everything interesting you might want to say. Similarly, killing Hitler is silly. It is like trying to wish away bad things in the world rather than address them. That is what art is, is addressing the world to people. Sure, escapism is great. I love it If his genre was truly the WWII adventure film it set out to be, then go for it. But make it ridiculous. Making a film go back and forth, with a silly story of the girl and her black lover. Who cares. The race card is not edgy anymore. I feel like I am being beaten over the head rather than entertained.
By the time we get to Django, I mean any credit we might give him for bringing up slavery as a topic just seems so outdone by the superior 12 Years a Slave. It is a silly idea of a Western, with a couple of great scnes that should have been tightened up. I can’t tell if I am supposed to take any of the violence or the situations seriously which is a weird world to set such a serious subject, unless he wants us to escape from the reality of it as well.
The one plus side I’ll give him is Death Proof, which had the one great car wreck scene. I love the idea of giving the audience so much of what they want from build up that they regret ever wanting it. I love to punish the audience. You want a car crash, well not the one I’m going to show you. Again, great ideas, but poor construction. I really want him to go back and make some old school stuff. Something set in the really real world. I’d love if he handled Natural Born Killers 2. He now wants to do another Western. Then maybe another coule of genre films before he retires. He wants to retire before he tarnishes his brand, but the sad fact is that I fear he already has. Now the stories are about him as celebrity. With the script being leaked, the lawsuit, on again off again. Great publicity. I wish I was in that position, but it isn’t honest. It isn’t the man on the street. I know that he has paved the way for so many. The indie circut would not exist without him All the stories I hear about him are of him being very helpful to artists, and I love that. I want to be that. But what upsets me is that so much talent will not be discovered. So many better films will not be seen because he is the system now. He is there to tell you what to think as much as everyone else is. He is safe. As much as he says he doesn’t want to talk about violence in movies, he pushes the issue. It is his Golden Goose. I really wish he would do a Rom Com. No violence, no cursing. Just all working on form and composition and story. Somethign about him as a person. Something personal and vulnerable. I want him to evolve and come around to the potential we all wanted him to have.